Sunday, October 02, 2011

Unwatchable - Save the Congo

A viral film campaign by Save the Congo is causing controversy in the UK. The film is called 'Unwatchable'. Based on the principle that western audiences are desensitised to violence and horror, especially the violence in Africa, the film transposes the story of an African girl being raped to a blonde girl in a market town in Glocestershire. The film depicts the vicious gang rape of the girl and the murder of her parents.

The aim of the film, according to Vava Tampa, director of Save the Congo, is the entirely laudable one of raising awareness about the use of conflict minerals mined in the Congo and used in mobile phones. If you manage to get to the end of the film there are storyboards that spell it out. Rape is used as a tactic of war by militias keen to gain control over valuable minerals such as tungsten, tin and tantalum.

"You have the power," the film intones, "to demand your mobile phone manufacturer stops using blood minerals." It urges us to "find out more, sign the petition, share this film".

I'm not going to link to the film.Instead I'm linking to the film of the women whose story this is based upon. It is as disturbing as anything you could see or read, but it is the truth.

I've written about women in the DRC and about mining minerals for mobile phones before. Some campaigners say that every mobile phone carries a bit of the war in the Congo. I hope that people will protest what is happening there without having to watch graphic violence, whether that violence be perpetrated on English people in fiction, or on African people in reality.

1 comment:

RosieW said...

Hello all, I was part of the team behind the Unwatchable campaign. This short films shocking content has unleashed a diverse, passionate debate with many different opinions.

However, I defy you not to agree with this one - if you do, I'd love to hear why. >